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Old 23rd July 2012, 17:39   #1
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Default A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

We (my wife and me) recently did a short 4 day trip to Dalhousie and Khajjiar which we thoroughly ENJOYED – probably the best trip (out of the short road trips that we’ve done by car) thus far, and I’d like to share it with others here on this forum. Have done other trips I’ve enjoyed, but then I wasn’t a team bhp member then, so never did extensive write ups before. However, the very detailed travelogues posted on this forum inspired me to create my own – probably nowhere near as spectacular as some of the ones I’ve read, but a good read nonetheless for that enjoy the hills.


The hills are my #1 favorite spot to travel in India – perhaps due to my love for hiking outdoors, or perhaps just because I enjoy the solitude and greenery that a lot of places in the hills offer. And when I say hiking, I’m referring to walking UP the hills on the dirt tracks through the hills – as opposed to walking on the roads on which vehicles travel. I used to have access to the hills on a DAILY basis in a different life in another country, but that was another time, another life. . .over here in Delhi, the only option is to drive to the mountains – not always doable at short notice, but a must-do once every year, at least for me!


We chose Dalhousie (and Khajjiar) pretty much because of the dense greenery that we saw while researching on the Internet – it reminded us a lot of Ranikhet, which we visited last year, and enjoyed. Have been to places like Kasauli and Chail (in HP) as well, but for some reason those places don’t seem to have as thick a forest cover as Dalhousie and the surrounding areas do (still fantastic places to visit though; don’t get me wrong!)


This was by far the longest road trip we’ve attempted to do in a day. Most of the other road trips we did were around the 350km or so distance – while Delhi to Dalhousie clocks in at a somewhat imposing (at least to the uninitiated) 600 km or so. I was advised not to do the trip in one day, but, well meaning as that advice might have been, I did not heed it – I was confident I could do the trip in a day due to the fact that roads are good for the most part, except maybe for the last 50 km or so to Dalhousie (the road is still OK on this stretch, but average speed comes down a LOT due to occasional bumps and potholes). That, and we felt that stopping on the way would really add nothing to the trip – doing it in one day would leave us more time to spend at the places we really wanted to spend time in.


As always, I did the trip in my trusty Zen – and as always, it held up admirably and didn’t fail me even once. Folks often think that doing such long distances in a small car (in India) is not possible on a regular basis, but I beg to differ – a car like the Zen, when maintained well can pretty much go anywhere a sedan can – no problems whatsoever!


The route we planned for the trip was Delhi – Pathankot (via NH1) and then on to Dalhousie from there. A more detailed version would look thus: - Delhi – Karnal – Ambala – Ludhiana – Jalandhar – Pathankot – Dalhousie; but I suspect there is no need as NH1 is most likely a well known entity for most folks on this forum. . .


I’ll break up the 5 day trip “report” (July 9 – 14) into days so it becomes easier to follow.


Day 1 (Tuesday)


We made an early start from Delhi at 5:45 AM. I was actually planning to leave a bit earlier, around 5:15AM or so, but that didn’t happen. As they say, the best laid plans often. . . Anyway, traffic was light at that time, so we made good speed – if I remember correctly, we reached Punjab (beyond Ambala) by around 11 or so, which was fairly decent going. One point of interest here might be the fuel we consumed – I tanked up on both petrol and CNG before leaving Delhi, and the CNG tank gave me a whopping 200 km (without A/C, we didn’t need it at that time of the day) before the red light started to flash (which indicated another 30 to 40 km of highway driving left). Superb mileage I thought, and saved us more than a few bucks on petrol, always a god-send considering the prices of petrol (especially in Punjab!).


Side note: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised on the CNG part – I’ve done a trip to the Taj Mahal from Delhi (total distance of about 220 km or so, right upto the Mahal); all on ONE tank of CNG!!


It started to rain by the time we crossed Khanna (beyond Ambala, on the way to Ludhiana). I thought this would slow us down a lot, but it didn’t – the road quality was good enough for the most part, and there wasn’t much traffic at that time. Our average speed did come down a little from 100km/hr to 80km/hr, but that was all good – way better than what I thought it would be on Indian highways in the rain.



Rain swept highway (nice and dark as you can tell, at like noon or so!)
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-rain-swept.jpg

We stopped for a while at Khanna to have some snacks – great snacks, far spicier bread “pakoras” than we get in Delhi – always knew the food in Punjab was GOOD - but I’ve always had Punjabi food from Delhi, never in Punjab, so that was another first for me!


What was a bit strange was that it would rain REAL heavily for a few kms, then stop altogether for the next km or so, then start back up. Not sure why that is, or if the rain was just playing hide and seek irrespective of location, but we found it a bit strange.



Anyhow, on we kept going until we reached Ludhiana, when we encountered our first real traffic snarl-up for the day. NH1 is being constantly upgraded, so one is faced with “diversions” throughout the trip, starting from Panipat itself, but none of them really take a lot of time to navigate until Ludhiana. They’re currently building an overpass that will go right over the city in the future, but for now, one gets to experience city traffic as the highway passes right through the city. So that was a 20-30 minute delay there.



Once out of Ludhiana, the average speed improved again until we reached Jalandhar – where we encountered more messy traffic, only less than in Ludhiana (the traffic mess there seems to go on and on forever). Waded through that, and then on it was to Pathankot. I lost my way slightly here – spent about ½ an hour or so getting directions before I was finally directed to the right road. Turned out the road itself was simple enough, we just ignored a turn we should have taken and then just sort of kept driving on. . .happens sometimes.



I should also mention that there was a loud noise coming from under the wheel for a while now (while we were driving) – and it got REALLY bad right after we left Ludhiana. It’d be fine as long as one did 80km/hr, but go beyond that, and it seemed like something was striking the wheel real hard. Needless to say, we didn’t want a ruptured tyre so we stopped to check – and found out that the nuts on the mud flap on the driver’s side had come loose (and disappeared) and the mudflap itself was completely torn, and what remained of it was slapping up against the wheel! Now we didn’t have spare screws to screw the torn flap back in, so this presented somewhat of a dilemma. I know we could have driven to a mechanic, but didn’t want to take the risk of a tyre going bald prematurely (recipe for disaster on road trips). What we finally ended up doing was tying the flap in place with a torn piece of cloth of all things – and amazingly enough, it WORKED – we didn’t encounter any more problems with the flap the rest of our trip! “Desi Jugaad” (much as I criticize it) at its best!!


Anyway, it was about 2PM or so by the time we were finally on the Jalandhar – Pathankot highway, which is a combination of great road, and terrible stretches in parts. Stopped for lunch at a local joint (dhaba) around 3 or so, and then continued on to Pathankot – finally reaching there around 4’ish I think.



A couple of pictures we took around Pathankot

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-view-pathankot-1.jpg

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-view-pathankot-2.jpg


At that point I had already driven quite a while, so we debated on whether or not to call it a day, and to continue on to our final destination the next day – but as expected (as we both expected!) both of us wanted to go on. And as it turned out, we did the right thing, not much sense halting for 100 odd kms. . .might as well get the driving done in one shot, and then relax for the next couple of days.



So, on it was to Dalhousie. The road there is pretty good for the most part, but the last 50 kms gets a bit tedious to navigate – nothing one wouldn’t expect in the Himalayas though. Finally reached around 645 or so, and being that we didn’t book a hotel in advance (we’ve had bad experiences in the past), we stopped to take a look at the first hotel we saw, that being “Hotel Himgiri”. Fell in love with the room at first sight; nice little cozy room with a clean bathroom (equipped with a large water heater) and a balcony offering a great view of the mountains. Rates fairly reasonable I thought, and plus I KNEW the wife would love it, so we took it. So in our rooms by about 7’ish, took a hot shower, and sat down to unwind from the trip and just RELAX for a while.


View from our balcony
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-view-balcony-1.jpg

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-view-balcony-2.jpg


So, 5:45AM to 7PM. . .14 hours or so of driving if I’ve got it right. Minus about an hour, maybe a bit more for all stoppages, and that’s about 13:30 hours of driving. Not bad, even if I say so myself, so the relaxation was well earned (and enjoyed!). I think I tanked up on petrol TWICE during the entire trip – once in HP (on the Dalhousie road) and once just after Ambala; this way, we managed to avoid the high fuel prices in Punjab at least one way.


Had some fantastic butter chicken and rotis for dinner, and then crashed. Note: For anyone traveling to Dalhousie, know that the food in Dalhousie is GREAT – there are PLENTY of options – and also know that the Hotel Himgiri’s food is fantastic – comes with my highest recommendations. Their rooms aren’t too bad either, and plus the hotel is situated a bit away from the main town, so the solitude one gets is another big plus point.



Day 2 (Wednesday)


Woke up around 7’ish, and ordered tea which we sipped on our balcony, enjoying the fantastic view, and fresh air. Had breakfast shortly after, and then headed out to WALK – which is why we made the trip in the first place! Dalhousie has two main “chowks” to visit, one being Gandhi Chowk, and the other being Subhash Chowk (about 2.5 km or so from Gandhi chowk if I remember right). And the views from both are fantastic – Dalhousie is one of those places which seems to be shrouded by clouds most of the time (kind of like Nainital), so it makes for great photographs.


A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-cloudy-dalhousie-1.jpg
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-cloudy-dalhousie-2.jpg
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-cloudy-dalhousie-3.jpg
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-cloudy-dalhousie-4.jpg


Anyway, we enjoyed walking the hills, walked around all morning, and took some pictures. Dalhousie also has a thriving Tibetan market, so we did plenty of shopping for the wife there. Finally had lunch around 3:30 PM or so at a “Napoli” restaurant (I guess that’s the Indian version of “Napoleon”??), which offered FANTASTIC sizzlers amongst things!! We had a grilled chicken sizzler, as far as their “special” sizzler, both great and then sat outside for a while (some chairs were conveniently provided) enjoying the atmosphere. Did get hassled a bit by some clowns offering “herbal quick fixes” for any and all problems, but other than that, had a nice rest. Then back to the hotel, had some mutton momos on the way there (that’s another first – we’ve never had mutton momos anywhere), by which it time it had got real cloudy. Figuring it would start to pour soon, we called it a day.



We must have walked AT LEAST 6km that day, most of it uphill. Also did some hill sprints on some of the stretches – an exercise that I very highly recommend for super overall health and strength – but NOT if your new to hiking – in that case, make sure you work into it gradually.



Getting back to the narrative, we were right on the weather – it started to pour cats and dogs pretty soon. So that put paid to any ideas of evening walks. Instead, we drank tea on the balcony and enjoyed our evening – romantic evening to say the least, one of the very best I’ve experienced in a while.



We also thought about what our next move should be – stay in Dalhousie another day (something I was leaning towards) or push on to Khajjiar the next morning (which my wife wanted to do, since she’s seen all she wanted to in Dalhousie. I thought we could relax and walk a bit more in Dalhousie, but my wife said that can be done in Khajjiar as well. Hmm, good point. . .we finally decided to push on to Khajjiar (22 kms from Dalhousie) and as it turned out, it was the best choice we could have made (most of my wife’s choices seem to be the best ones – you married guys will know what I’m talking about!). Honestly speaking though, it WAS the best choice – we’d find that out the next morning.


View from our balcony at night

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-view-balcony-night-1.jpg
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-view-balcony-night-2.jpg


Had another great dinner, and then crashed for the night. On to Day #3!

Day #3 (Thursday)


Woke up around 7 as usual, drank our tea, got ready, and then headed out to Khajjiar around 8:30 PM or so. Khajjiar from what we had researched on the Internet is christened the Mini-Switzerland of India, so we were REAL eager to get there. . .


Quick pic before checking out of the hotel!

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-himgirizen.jpg


The road to Khajjiar runs through Kalatop Wildlife sanctuary, so one has some great scenery on the way there (didn’t see any actual animals, but there was dense forest all around). The road itself is not in great shape, but it’s definitely motorable, and we got to Khajjiar around 10:30 (I know, long time taken to travel 22 kms, but we stopped for photos and plus the average speed was around 20km/hr).


Along the way to Khajjiar
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-road-khajjiar-1.jpg
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-road-khajjiar-2.jpg


Dalhousie Public School (on the way)


A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-road-khajjiar-3-dps.jpg


Inside Kalatop

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-jungle-khajjiar-1.jpg
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-jungle-khajjiar-2.jpg
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-jungle-khajjiar-3.jpg


Note: I'll upload more pictures in the next post, so as to not make this one too huge.

The first clue that you’re approaching Khajjiar comes when you are about to exit the forested road, and you see a beautiful green meadow in the distance. This is basically what Khajjiar is; a lush green meadow (with a lake of sorts in the middle) right smack in the middle of the jungle. To put it another way, imagine the thick deodar forests suddenly giving way to a beautiful green meadow – the same as you see in postcards, complete with cows and sheep grazing – and you get the picture! The photos explain it better, but rest assured we fell in love with the place at first sight. Booked our hotel; this time a cottage at a HP government hotel (Hotel Deodar). Slightly on the expensive side we thought, but at that point we were so enthused by the place that we wanted to get out of the car and start walking – so we got the formalities completed quickly, checked into the hotel, and then headed out.



The first stop of course was the green meadow, which had a cluster of buildings, hordes and hordes of tourists, cows, sheep and horses – that meadow is pretty much the entire village of Khajjiar. We walked around the meadow a bit, but sadly enough, didn’t enjoy it as much as we should have – there is just TOO MUCH litter all over the place, and that, combined with the cow dung and horse dung makes the meadow pretty filthy in most parts, way more so that it looks in the photographs. The place is real pretty, but it’s a pity that most pretty places in India end up cluttered with litter – and Khajjiar apparently is no exception to this rule.



Anyway, the surroundings are still pristine and clean – it’s just the meadow which is really filthy, that, and some portions of the hills which are apparently drinking spots at night – other than that, once one gets out of Khajjiar, it’s actually fairly clean. So, we did that – walked away from Khajjiar, and down the road to a local Shiv temple. Pretty good walk, and we then hiked through the hills a bit after visiting the temple (I’m not much of a one for religious spots, but my wife is). Enjoyed it, and then back to Khajjiar where we had lunch at a local restaurant, which unfortunately was pretty mediocre – not to mention the service, which was downright POOR. The clown serving us ended up serving my wife’s lunch first, and then mine way after both of us had finished hers – silly to say the least. Not going to mention the name of restaurant here, but they really should improve their service. That’s a minor blimp on what was otherwise a fantastic trip overall. . .


It was about 4PM or so by then, and we then stopped at a local stall which had some Feng-Shui type good luck charms for sale. Again, I’m not much of a one for all that, but my wife is, so off we went to take a look. The stall is manned by a lady who apparently can read a person inside out by just asking his/her name (don’t ask me how) – she asked us both our names, and ended up giving us a pretty detailed biography of ourselves, and shocking enough, it was correct for the most part! I don’t particularly believe in this sort of thing myself, but I have to say, the lady’s comments got me thinking – how can someone know so much about a person they’ve NEVER MET? Anyway, we bought several things from her, including a pretty cool pendant type of chain (which is hanging behind the windshield of the Zen), and another cool looking golden bell type thingy (will have to post the picture to explain better). Then back to the hotel, where we rested a while before heading out for tea.


One thing which I really enjoyed about our cottage was that it was right ON the meadow, so there’s a steep climb just to get back to your room. Ditto for if one goes down to get water, or snacks, or anything of that sort. . .talk about getting one’s exercise in without even thinking about it!



After a short rest, we went hiking again – this time in the direction of some “apple meadows” which the locals wanted to take us on horseback to. We’d rather walk, so we declined that offer, and went ourselves. The trail was one of those steep, winding trails that go right up the hill to a little village on top of it; but there were really no “meadows” to be seen. There were quite a few apples trees in the village, along with maize being grown there as well, but no real “meadows” to be seen. Still pretty beautiful though, we took a couple of photos, chatted a bit with the local kids that showed us around. Apparently cheetahs and black bears show up at the village when it’s dark, the former apparently to hunt cattle and the latter apparently to eat fruits. I can believe it as well, a lot of these forests have wire mesh separating the village area from the general jungle, and the reason is self-evident.



We had tea and snacks at a local joint – again, the snacks were something I’ve never had before – egg pakoras! Have never had those before, and I must admit they were pretty good. Then back to the hotel, where we decided to call it a night. Had dinner at the hotel itself (room service), but unfortunately the food was nowhere near as good as we expected, and neither was the service. That’s strange – I’ve always encountered excellent service and food at most hotels run by the HP government. Perhaps this was just a one-off, who knows.



Anyway, we spent most of the evening in our cottage. We were going to sit out on the lawn in front of our cottage, but unfortunately the cottage next to us was overrun with a bunch of noisy “family” people (I’m saying family in quotes) – the type that believes in bringing an extended family down for the vacation, right from kids to grand-kids, to great grandkids and their relatives, and none of them too happy with their companions – for those that have seen Indian soap operas, think of the families depicted in most of them, and you get the picture. We wanted a nice, romantic night under the stars, but it was obvious we weren’t going to get it. . .


We also discussed what to do the next day – the initial plan was to take in Khajjiar for one day, and then head on over to Dharamshala to visit there as well. But, after seeing the pristine beauty and wilderness that surrounded Khajjiar, we decided we’d stay there another day and explore more of the numerous hiking trails around the town. And there was PLENTY more to explore “off the beaten trail” – a lot of the other trails we wanted to trek are untraveled by the average tourist – so they were clean as well.
Khajjiar is higher than Dalhousie, and the weather here was excellent for the most part (cooler than Dalhousie which itself had pretty good weather), so we slept with our door open (just closed the wire mesh in front of the door). Sort of like natural air-conditioning, worked great – I slept like a log! Except for a dog incessantly barking around 3AM, presumably at some hyenas which we also heard howling around that time. . .remember, once night falls, it’s pitch dark – like REALLY dark – so most wild animals probably move around during that time. And the meadow has so much trash on it that it’s not surprising hyenas or other scavengers would sneak in there late at night or during the early morning hours.



Day #4 (Friday)


Woke up at the usual time, 7’ish, only to find out it was raining, and everything was covered in a thick fog. OK, not the best thing to see for someone that’s looking to get outdoors for the whole day. . .I’m not sure if any of you guys have read “Master of the Game” by Sidney Sheldon or not, but in that book, the protagonist hatches an ingenious plan to steal diamonds from a mine field which goes awry at the last moment. Despite the plan, the guards there almost catch him, but at the last moment, a thick mist (fog) sweeps in from the sea, obscuring ALL visibility – even if we’re talking a few meters in front of one. That was the same type of fog that swept in (see photos) – and that along with the fleeting rain sort of put a dampener on things since we were planning on hiking the entire day.


Anyway, got out for a bit, waited for the rain to calm down and it did around 11AM or so, after which we headed out to one of the trails about 3 km or so away from the main town. It was one of those trails that goes right through the jungle to the top of the hill, where there was a tiny village (Pookhri village, if I recall correctly) – fantastic hike, and most of all the place was CLEAN, as 99.9% of tourists would never think of hiking up that far.



So, we did that hike, enjoyed it, walked back to the hotel area and had lunch, this time a great lunch at a local joint. After that, we made another trip to the lady we bought the Feng Shui items from, and bought some other things from her. Wanted to hike a bit more, but we knew there was a long drive waiting for us the next day (back to Delhi), so we called it a day (or night). Was planning on going to bed early to wake up fresh for the drive, but the night was so beautiful we ended up sitting outdoors and chatting till about 11PM or so – maybe not the best thing to do before waking up at 6 for a long drive, but then such is life!


Day #5 (Saturday)


Not much to write about here – this was pretty much the drive back to Delhi. Uneventful for the most part, except I ended up driving over a largish stone on the way down from the hills, and ended up upsetting the car silencer a little – so we drove home with a roaring car (the kind you get when you install a free flowing exhaust) for the rest of the trip! Got that fixed the next day though, no big deal, just a minor 10 minute repair job. Otherwise, it was a long, long drive as usual – stopped for lunch and some shopping on the way, but otherwise, routine drive back home.



We covered a total distance of 1240 km; it was the first time my trip odometer had to restart from zero after the 999 mark, so I took a picture of that as well. I should also mention that 80% of the drive back (actually, all of it after the hills) was done with A/C on full blast – but the car never complained one bit – still managed to maintain an average speed of 80 till Ludhiana, and then around 120 or so after we crossed Ambala. This with a loaded suitcase, CNG tank, and two people - can’t ask more from a Zen, me thinks!



Final thoughts

As I said, this was probably the best road trip that I’ve done to the hills. Plenty of natural beauty, good food, and lots of opportunities to hike around. I suspect that one could also catch a glimpse of some wildlife if one went on night safaris and the like around the area (though I’m not sure if that’s permitted inside Kalatop Park), but there’s plenty of other places to see wildlife. For me, the sheer joy of hiking through the hills was what made the trip worthwhile – that, and good facilities for the most part in the hotels we stayed at.



There are MANY other places I want to visit by car, the first being North East India – not sure how roads etc are in that part of the country, but the natural beauty there seems to be second to none. Also on the agenda in the future is a road trip to Leh, and maybe a road trip to Nepal as well – I’ve heard one can drive into Nepal in one’s own car, but not sure how accurate that is. We’ll see how it all pans out – at the end of the day, this one was a great trip, and a fabulous break from the monotony and pollution of Delhi.



Hope that was of interest to all who read - and if more pictures are required, let me know, and I'll upload some more!


Cheers,

Rahul

Last edited by Technocrat : 25th July 2012 at 00:19. Reason: Blanked out Number plate as requested
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Old 23rd July 2012, 19:03   #2
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Some more pictures:

Idyllic view upon reaching Khajjiar

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-khajjiar-1.jpg

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-khajjiar-2.jpg

A couple of photos of our cottage and the hotel

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-our-cottage.jpg

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-khajjiar-hotel-1.jpg

The trusty steed!

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-trusty-steed.jpg

The wife and myself on the meadow

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-wife-me-khajjiar.jpg

Sheep grazing

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-sheep-grazing.jpg

Rabbits - these are carried in baskets by the locals who charge tourists Rs 10/- per photograph with them (and as expected, there's a lot of demand for these photos!)

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-rabbits.jpg

Apple trees that we saw on one of our hikes

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-apple-trees.jpg

And finally, the trip odometer about to get reset on the way to Delhi (around Ambala)!

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-999.jpg

Last edited by Technocrat : 25th July 2012 at 00:16. Reason: Blanked out number plate as requested
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Old 23rd July 2012, 23:15   #3
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

Thanks alot for the great log, nicely written

I am planning a trip to vaishno devi, dalhousie, khajjiar, sometime in next month, so your log gonna help alot.

Do post more pics, if you've

Cheers,
Sameer
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Old 23rd July 2012, 23:38   #4
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Nice travelogue Zenster ! Detailed and very engaging ! Bravo !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenster99 View Post
As always, I did the trip in my trusty Zen – and as always, it held up admirably and didn’t fail me even once. Folks often think that doing such long distances in a small car (in India) is not possible on a regular basis, but I beg to differ – a car like the Zen, when maintained well can pretty much go anywhere a sedan can – no problems whatsoever!
I'd totally agree with that. I myself drive a 2001 Zen and have had no problems whatsoever barring the not-so-effective AC that was always the bane of old Zen. Did a 2000km round trip From Dehradun to Jodhpur and the car never gave any trouble. Great mileage too!

Quote:
There are MANY other places I want to visit by car, the first being North East India – not sure how roads etc are in that part of the country, but the natural beauty there seems to be second to none. Also on the agenda in the future is a road trip to Leh, and maybe a road trip to Nepal as well – I’ve heard one can drive into Nepal in one’s own car, but not sure how accurate that is. We’ll see how it all pans out
The good thing is that you're based in the NCR. There are a whole lot of weekend getaway options from there in every direction. There's Himachal & Uttarakhand if you like hills(there are options for adventure sports too, especially in Uttarakhand), there's Rajasthan if you like the desert (with a whole lot of culture, heritage and good food thrown in), and then there's Gwalior/Agra/Fatehpur Sikri. The NE is another beautiful place. Having spent a fair amount of time there I can tell you with certainty that the beauty is unparalleled and (for now) untouched and what's more, the people are friendly and warm. You should visit the place if you can.

Once again , great travelogue.

Happy Driving.

Cheers

Last edited by Ironhide : 23rd July 2012 at 23:42. Reason: Spelling mistake.
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Old 24th July 2012, 00:43   #5
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

Nice TL Rahul. I am going on the same trip day after tomorrow. I have got the bookings done at Kalatop forest rest house. I was sceptical till now about taking my Linea there but your TL has given me much more confidence.

Cheers,
Biraj
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Old 24th July 2012, 09:36   #6
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

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Originally Posted by sameerg001 View Post
Thanks alot for the great log, nicely written

I am planning a trip to vaishno devi, dalhousie, khajjiar, sometime in next month, so your log gonna help alot.

Do post more pics, if you've

Cheers,
Sameer
Thanks Sameer! Will re-size and post more pictures soon (the pictures I took with my digital camera are all around 2.5 MB in size, so I need to resize each one so as to make sure they conform with the forum limit of 1MB for JPEGS).

You should have no trouble fitting in a visit to Vaishno Devi along with Dalhousie and Khajjiar - Jammu is only 100 odd kms from Pathankot, on a fairly decent road, so you should be able to reach Jammu in a day, and then take it from there.

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Nice travelogue Zenster ! Detailed and very engaging ! Bravo !



I'd totally agree with that. I myself drive a 2001 Zen and have had no problems whatsoever barring the not-so-effective AC that was always the bane of old Zen. Did a 2000km round trip From Dehradun to Jodhpur and the car never gave any trouble. Great mileage too!
Thanks Ironhide. The good part is that the A/C actually worked pretty well on this trip. I had it on all the way from Pathankot onwards (on the return leg to Delhi) and it did a pretty good job of keeping the car cool. Of course, car A/C's always perform better on long highway drives than in the city - that's probably the case with any car.

I agree though, the older Zen A/C's don't really work as well as they should. My own personal feeling is that while the compressor can keep up with the demand for cold air at most times (except when it's REALLY hot, and the car is in a massive jam - the A/C seems to turn on and off at times then), but it's the blower thats REALLY weak. . .Thats just my personal opinion, though.

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The good thing is that you're based in the NCR. There are a whole lot of weekend getaway options from there in every direction. There's Himachal & Uttarakhand if you like hills(there are options for adventure sports too, especially in Uttarakhand), there's Rajasthan if you like the desert (with a whole lot of culture, heritage and good food thrown in), and then there's Gwalior/Agra/Fatehpur Sikri. The NE is another beautiful place. Having spent a fair amount of time there I can tell you with certainty that the beauty is unparalleled and (for now) untouched and what's more, the people are friendly and warm. You should visit the place if you can.

Once again , great travelogue.

Happy Driving.

Cheers
Yes - the N.E. is another place I'd really love to visit - Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are places that jump to mind, but any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated - I don't really have any first hand knowledge of these places. What are the roads like there? As far as I can tell, the NE is sort of a tricky place to travel due to security and infrastructural issues, but not totally sure. 'Tis a pity though that the government hasn't invested in making these areas "tourism" friendly - though on the other hand, loads of tourists visiting usually ends up spoiling the beauty of the place. Double edged sword as it were.

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Originally Posted by Biraj View Post
Nice TL Rahul. I am going on the same trip day after tomorrow. I have got the bookings done at Kalatop forest rest house. I was sceptical till now about taking my Linea there but your TL has given me much more confidence.

Cheers,
Biraj
Thanks Biraj. Should be no problem whatsoever taking a sedan along - I haven't been to the Kalatop rest house, but the road itself is definitely navigable (albeit at slightly lower speeds, but thats normal in the hills). Enjoy the trip, and let us know how it went!!

Cheers all,
Rahul
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Old 24th July 2012, 11:39   #7
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

Great travelogue, thanx for sharing. The pics serve as the icing on the cake. Brings back memories of my childhood when we went their on a school tour. Looks like things havent changed much.
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Old 24th July 2012, 12:37   #8
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

Oh man!! Your Golden Beige Zen reminds me of the Golden Beige Zen we owned till 2 years back! Seeing one after ages it seems. It was the first car my parents had bought and as a 12 year old boy, I was in love with it! We traveled 1 lakh km in it!! In college it became my car, and I took it to the craziest of places!! I'v become so senti, sorry!! Thanks for bringing back these memories

And sorry for being

So, back to your travelogue. Lots of driving in one day, but with such a nice car to drive... (i'm straying again, sorry) Very well written piece. Khajjiar pics are mindblowing! It I think is the most beautiful place in India. Could not cover it during my recent trip to Himachal. Gonna make a trip to Dalhousie and Khajjiar definitely some day!

Cheers.
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Old 24th July 2012, 12:43   #9
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Great travelogue, thanx for sharing. The pics serve as the icing on the cake. Brings back memories of my childhood when we went their on a school tour. Looks like things havent changed much.
Thanks for the nice words, dZired! Yes, thankfully Khajjiar (and Dalhousie) remain one of those places that haven't changed much (except for the amount of trash, maybe - that is real sad to see in such pretty environs).

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Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
Oh man!! Your Golden Beige Zen reminds me of the Golden Beige Zen we owned till 2 years back! Seeing one after ages it seems. It was the first car my parents had bought and as a 12 year old boy, I was in love with it! We traveled 1 lakh km in it!! In college it became my car, and I took it to the craziest of places!! I'v become so senti, sorry!! Thanks for bringing back these memories

And sorry for being
Don't worry - cars, especially beloved first ones tend to do that to one. Kinda like a first love I suppose, you never really forget it. . .I'm getting sentimental about my Zen as I write this, and I haven't even sold it off as yet!

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Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
So, back to your travelogue. Lots of driving in one day, but with such a nice car to drive... (i'm straying again, sorry) Very well written piece. Khajjiar pics are mindblowing! It I think is the most beautiful place in India. Could not cover it during my recent trip to Himachal. Gonna make a trip to Dalhousie and Khajjiar definitely some day!

Cheers.
Yes, Khajjiar in particular is REAL pretty - I've been to other places before in HP, but never quite to such a beautiful place with so much greenery!

Here are some more photos: -
Rabbit in a basket - As I said, plenty of tourists play around with these rabbits and get their pictures taken with them. Now, what I REALLY should have taken a picture of was one of the rabbits escaping from the basket, and his handler attempting to catch him. . .
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-rabbit-basket.jpg
Another view of the hotel/cottage (this is actually the neighboring cottage)
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-cottage-neigbor.jpg

Round plastic globe like "thingies" (for lack of a better word) which folks get spun around in - not sure what this feels like - we didn't try it!
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-round.jpg

The temple I spoke about in the first post (note: my wife looked through the post and corrected me - this was actually a "Jagdamba" temple instead of a "Shiv" temple - as you can tell, I'm the last person you should be looking to get information from about temples!)
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-jagdamba-1.jpg

(Perhaps this was why I got confused on what temple it was)A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-jagdamba-2.jpg

View of the temple - as seen from a hill top
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-jagdamba-view.jpg

A nice little village we came upon during one of our treks - the apple gardens are nearby
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-nice-little-village.jpg

Mist about to roll in on the second morning along with a bit of rain - bummer!
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-mist-about-roll-.jpg

This photo was taken just a few seconds after the first one - you can see how quickly the mist rolls in
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-mist-rolle-din-fully.jpg

Victory!! - at the end of a pretty tough climb - through FAR denser woods than at the top of the hill, which is where the photo was taken!
A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-end-tough-climb.jpg


And finally, the final morning - would you believe it, the rain completely cleared off by the time we woke up, and it was going to be a fantastic day as compared to the last one. I guess thats how the cookie crumbles though!

A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-final-morning.jpg
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A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar-cows.jpg  


Last edited by Technocrat : 25th July 2012 at 00:21.
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Old 24th July 2012, 16:26   #10
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

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Yes - the N.E. is another place I'd really love to visit - Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are places that jump to mind, but any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated - I don't really have any first hand knowledge of these places. What are the roads like there? As far as I can tell, the NE is sort of a tricky place to travel due to security and infrastructural issues, but not totally sure. 'Tis a pity though that the government hasn't invested in making these areas "tourism" friendly - though on the other hand, loads of tourists visiting usually ends up spoiling the beauty of the place. Double edged sword as it were.
The NE is remote,beautiful and unexplored but at the same time that also translates into less than desirable infrastructure. There are places which are quite beautiful - Sikkim, Darjeeling, Kalimpong etc,and they do have decent infrastructure in place, but technically they're NOT notheast. Northeast per se is the Seven Sisters - Assam, Arunachal, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram & Meghalaya. Of these , insurgency is there in Manipur and Assam (there's some disturbances in Kokrajhar even as I write this) so you may like to be careful there. All parts of Assam are not affected and Kaziranga and Manas actually have been promoted fairly vigorously by Assam tourism. Nagaland is also peaceful, and there has been attempts to revive tourism in the state. Mizoram has no insurgency whatsoever and Tripura and Meghalaya are just like any other part of the country. The most beautiful, unexplored and remote of the Seven Sisters is believed to be Arunachal. However owing to the remoteness, the infrastructure there is still catching up. Anshuman had written a beautiful travelogue some time back about Arunachal and Nagaland. That should help. There are T-BHPians from the NE and also who have travelled there extensively (one name that comes to mind is ADC) who will be able to advise you in more detail. Of course, there's HVK Sir, who's the walking encyclopaedia on all thing related to travel within the country. So there are your options. All the same, the fact remains that the NE is beautiful and definitely worth a visit!
Cheers!
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Old 24th July 2012, 17:24   #11
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

Thanks for the detailed response, Ironhide. I'm currently reading Anshuman's travelogue as I type this - some great wildlife to be seen in Assam (guessing somewhere around Kaziranga, but I may be wrong, will have to read further) if the pictures are anything to go by!

Cheers, and thanks again for the thoughts.

Rahul
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Old 25th July 2012, 14:01   #12
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

Lovely narrative. Reminded me of my visit to Khajiar way way back in 1988. Lovely meadow which was quite clean at that time.
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Old 25th July 2012, 19:17   #13
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Default Re: A 5 day road trip to Dalhousie/Khajjiar

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Round plastic globe like "thingies" (for lack of a better word) which folks get spun around in - not sure what this feels like - we didn't try it!
Zorbing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I first saw this in armour of god, jackie chan going down a steep cliff.
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Old 25th July 2012, 20:48   #14
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Lovely narrative. Reminded me of my visit to Khajiar way way back in 1988. Lovely meadow which was quite clean at that time.
Thanks for the response sudev. Unfortunately not quite as clean now as it looks from afar. Don't get me wrong - it's still a picturesque location, no doubts about that, and it gets far cleaner if you walk a few kilometers outside the main area (which is the meadow itself), but I really wish folks would have more sense than to litter the entire area with bottles, empty wrappers and what-not (in addition to the waste matter from the animals).

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Zorbing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I first saw this in armour of god, jackie chan going down a steep cliff.
Thanks Vivek - had never heard of zorbing until I read your response!
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Old 28th July 2012, 08:48   #15
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Thanks for the response sudev. Unfortunately not quite as clean now as it looks from afar. Don't get me wrong - it's still a picturesque location, no doubts about that, and it gets far cleaner if you walk a few kilometers outside the main area (which is the meadow itself), but I really wish folks would have more sense than to litter the entire area with bottles, empty wrappers and what-not (in addition to the waste matter from the animals).

The one thing that saddens me and totally mars the otherwise great experience of any tourist destination is the irresponsible way many of us litter the place and expect the Govt to pick up after us, whether it's Ranthambhore or Manali.

A very long time back I did a mountaineering course in Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi. On every trek, it was compulsory to hang a string bag to our rucksacks in which we deposited the wrappers, empty tetra paks of things we consumed in the trek. It was then brought back to the campus and disposed of in a proper way. It was an action that ensure that we didn't litter the pristine hiking trails that we traversed. It's a small thing maybe but if everyone of us who visited a place disposed of our garbage sensibly it will go a long way in keeping such beautiful places clean.
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